Development and preliminary validation of the multiattribute Rhinitis Symptom Utility Index

Research paper by D. A. Revicki, N. K. Leidy, F. Brennan-Diemer, C. Thompson, A. Togias

Indexed on: 01 Dec '98Published on: 01 Dec '98Published in: Quality of life research : an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care and rehabilitation


The Rhinitis Symptom Utility Index (RSUI) was developed as a preference-based measure of rhinitis symptoms. The RSUI consist of ten questions on the severity and frequency of stuffy or blocked nose, runny nose, sneezing, itching, watery eyes and itching nose or throat over a 14 day period. A cross-sectional survey of 100 adults with allergic rhinitis was completed, with data collected on rhinitis history and severity, physician-rated rhinitis severity, the Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire (RQLQ) and the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 (HUI2). The mean age of the patients was 37±11 years and 60% were female and 38% had a diagnosis of asthma. A multiplicative multiattribute utility function was developed from patient-derived preferences for different rhinitis-related symptom states. The mean RSUI score for this sample was 0.72±0.23, with a range of 0.15–1.0. Two week reproducibility of the RSUI was weak (ICC=0.40). The index differentiated patients by physician-rated severity (p<0.05) and was correlated 0.35 (p<0.001) with the HUI2 and −0.67 (p<0.001) with the RQLQ total score. The RSUI is brief and easy to administer and the results of this study support its reliability and validity. The modest reproducibility reflects the day to day variability of rhinitis. The RSUI may be a useful patient outcome for clinical trials and for cost-effectiveness studies comparing medical treatments for rhinitis.